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285 Madison Avenue

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Elevator modernization by Centennial, MCE, Magnetek helps transform historic office tower.

A classic 26-story office building at 285 Madison Avenue in New York City (NYC) underwent a renovation from a 1929 design to a contemporary office space with a distinctive entry, strong building identity and new elevators featuring Magnetek, Inc.’s Quattro® AC drives. This is the first U.S. installation of Quattro AC following successful installations in London; Toronto, Canada; and Melbourne, Australia, as well as other major cities.

The transformation of 285 Madison began in 2012 when RFR Holdings LLC, in partnership with Green Oak, acquired the building. Immediately following the acquisition, the property’s managing agent, RFR Realty LLC, initiated a project to reposition and revitalize the building by updating the interior while maintaining its classic design. Changes included an entirely new lobby, roof lounge, floor renovations, updated electrical and mechanical systems, and modernization of all elevator cabs and lifting systems.

Elevator modernization included new platforms, buffers, door equipment, controllers, gearless machines and other mechanical components for improved operation. The DC-hoist elevator motors that were replaced were original to the building, and the elevator cabs and controls had not been updated for 30 years. Cab interiors were upgraded to include new fixtures, ceilings and glass sidewalls.

Partnering on this project were installer Centennial Elevator Industries, Inc., one of New York’s largest elevator contractors; Motion Control Engineering (MCE), the controller manufacturer; and Magnetek.

Maintaining the highest levels of functionality, comfort and safety were vital for the new elevator system. MCE iControl traction controllers; gearless machines from MCE’s sister company, Imperial Electric; and Quattro® AC elevator drives from Magnetek were ideally suited for the project, particularly due to the demanding installation schedule. In an effort to improve energy efficiency and promote green building operations, existing motor-generator sets were replaced with 12 Magnetek Quattro AC drives. These drives harness regenerative energy to deliver up to 42% in energy savings over nonregenerative drives used in gearless applications.

Quattro AC drives are the latest product in Magnetek’s line of technologically advanced, green elevator drives offering clean harmonics, lower installation costs and high ride quality. The elevator drives’ precise, accurate controls provide smooth acceleration and deceleration, resulting in significantly improved performance. Jerry Schumm, executive vice president of RFR, elaborated:

“We wanted all behind-the-scenes mechanical and electrical systems to live up to the same level of quality as the renovated areas available to our tenants. Quattro AC elevator drives integrated seamlessly into our building. They have been a great success, providing reliable service and performance for our elevators.”

The incorporation of Quattro AC drives into 285 Madison’s elevator systems has resulted in faster floor-to-floor times, improved responsiveness and qualification for gold-level Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design certification, along with additional energy-efficiency building credits. Magnetek’s green elevator drives contribute to more efficient operations, matching the building’s modern, streamlined design. Full building renovations were scheduled to be complete in early 2015, featuring a direct-to-roof elevator providing tenant access to a rooftop lounge.

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